feature image via Molly Adams

My friends, how are you? I’ve missed you since last time we spoke, and I hope you’re well! Can you believe it’s already August? I feel like yesterday it was December 31st and we were all talking about how much 2016 was going to be the best year ever and making resolutions that we knew we’d forget about by February. But now it’s August, tax-free weekend is coming upon us in the States (go school shopping!), and the days are slowly getting a little shorter.

Life is busy and non-stop, but it’s so good, you know? Like, we are here on this earth, living and breathing, making friends, art, love, and community and I think that’s great. Even though there’s this dude with a bad spray tan running for president who we can’t stop thinking about, there are adorable birds chirping in the trees outside of my hotel room right this moment! Life is truly amazing.

Why am I in a hotel room, you ask? Because I just moved to Austin, TX!! I’m starting grad school this month and it seemed like a good idea to try and live in the city I’ll be attending school, so my mom and my brother helped move me and three cats in a packed-to-the-gills minivan from Connecticut to Texas. In the middle of our road trip, we camped at Natchez Trace State Forest in Tennessee, and even though the ground was wet and our fire didn’t last, the stars were shining, the air was fresh, and nature was beautiful. The little things, you know?


So tell me, what little things have been making you feel great lately? Did you get some mail that made you feel really good from a beloved friend? Did the sun shine extra bright on your face and warm your whole soul? Did you make friends with the cool barista that you’ve had a friend crush on for years? I want to know everything about everything!

I hope you’re taking care of yourselves and your communities. Give a friend a hug today (with their consent), call up an old acquaintance you’ve been thinking about, or send someone a postcard with a smiley face on it. Spread a little happiness, and you’ll warm your own heart in the process. Okay! Now for the cute pet pictures! Love ya!!!

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Ari is a 20-something artist and educator. They are a mom to two cats, they love domesticity, ritual, and porch time. They have studied, loved, and learned in CT, Greensboro, NC, and ATX.

Ari has written 330 articles for us.


  1. GOOD LUCK ON GRAD SCHOOL ALAINA. You’re gonna have a blast. I can’t wait to hear all about it.

    This week was hectic. I’m leaving for a sweet vacation in the US for three weeks on Tuesday, so I had a ton of work to finish before then. How is it that a vacation is producing more stress in my life than staying at work would have ? Clearly this is wrong !

    The most positive thing is that I went to Nottingham Pride last Saturday and not only was it BEAUTIFUL, it was also highly HISTORICAL. The QTIPOC LED THE PRIDE MARCH with Black Lives Matter UK. I was honoured to march behind them as allies

    We also did a minute of silence for Orlando, which was very moving and necessary.
    Then they held a wonderful open mic night for Queer POCs which we again were invited to sit in and listen to. Most performances brought tears to my eyes, I just couldn’t believe the amount of talent in that room ! Overall a very special day.

  2. Hey Autostraddle! Not gonna lie, this week has been a tough one. The girl I was seeing broke it off, so I’ve been bummed out. BUT it’s gonna be okay. I registered for A-Camp, which will be my first time going. And fall is coming up, so I get to wear PANTS and SWEATERS and maybe even get a new LIGHT JACKET and drink HOT CIDER and eat APPLES and more fall things. Can you tell I LOVE FALL?!?!?!! It’s my favorite season, mainly because summer sucks. 10 years ago (almost to the day), I started getting really sick, and fall is a huge marker of my illness & recovery.

    The fact that I’m not in school makes fall a little different because there isn’t the whole “new beginnings” thing, but this fall, there probably will be because I’m hoping to get a new job soon, as I’m being laid off in September. And Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) is in the fall, so I hope we all have a sweet new year. And Rosh Hanashanah starts the same night as A-Camp ends, so yay new beginnings!

    Now, I’ve gotten myself super pumped for fall. FALL. FALL!!!!! SO SOON!!!!!!!!


      Mostly because of this shitty never ending heat (at least where I am) and because the place I work has no insulation in the ceiling so it’s like constantly hovering around 90ºF in there. I just keep dreaming about crisp weather where you can hear the wind in the leaves and the crows cawing and PUMPKINS EVERYWHERE.

      • I live in NYC, so we’ve had the 90+ degree heat wave, too. And the AC at my work barely works, so we’re melting. FALLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • How cool – a fellow fall enthusiast! :) I love fall, too! I especially love the wind and also rainy days… Not always, of course, but a really rainy day is just such a cosy opportunity to cuddle up with a good book or re-watch my favourite tv series and eat lots of delicious warm soup… Now I´m looking forward to fall, too! :D (Until i read your comment I hadn´t even realised, that it´s fall soon…)

    • yessss FALL! We’ve had the worst rainy weather this week but at least that meant I got to wear the main thing I picked up on sale this summer: a wide-legged wool jumpsuit. It is so cozy and I am going to LIVE in it this fall. Pair that with an oxford shirt layered underneath and I look like a damn McCall’s sewing pattern sketch from 1972 and it makes me so happy.

      • That cozy fall outfit sounds really really good! Now I want to find something similar for me… (Not now – not enough money – but maybe in September or so.) Its nice too read from someone, who also does see the nice sides of fall! I haven´t ever met anyone who didn´t look at me really confused, when I told them, that I love fall and a sometimes a rainy day… :)

        • I just have a hard time coping with heat, you know!? Plus who doesn’t love layering? And yeah, the only reason I own it is that it was on a 75% off sale. It took serious discipline to actually try that on in a non-air-conditioned store on an 80 degree day, but my wallet thanked me. :P

          • Yeah, that´s exactly the same with me – I also have a hard time coping with heat… I can imagine that took a lot of discipline… :D Have a nice start of the week!

  3. I started baking again after a long spell of not baking (depression, eh?) and I feel ALIVE. I’ve been baking up pretty much a storm, or at least that’s how my kitchen looks after I’m done, and I’ve been giving it away to my family and coworkers and let me tell you the praise has been LIFE SUSTAINING.

    But honestly it’s been a rough few months, and it’s still rough, but baking is something that’s usually been an outlet for me that I’ve felt unable to do for a long time so it’s really nice to be creating something that brings joy to people at the same time. I’ve got my sourdough starter (which I named Waverly because WYNONNA EARP) back up and thriving and so I’ve been making bread a lot, I also made croissants and pain au chocolat for the first time! Even in this god awful heat they somehow managed to turn out really well!

    Also I’m going on a trip that I’ve been looking forward to all year in a few days! I’m slowly moving to a slightly higher paying position at work, I got two credit cards recently to boost my already good credit (thanks to that article on here about how to have good credit about a year ago), AND I bought new shoes yesterday so I feel like this is going to be one of those transitional points in my life that I’ll look back on and think “jeez I had a lot going on, I’m glad it all worked out.”

    • OMG that is SUCH a cute Sourdough name !!! Mine’s is Mary Berry and was named by Heather (I’m so proud of that) and it’s almost 6 months old and starting to taste wonderful. What’s your recipe for pain au chocolat ??? How does it fare in a regular oven ? (Do you use an oven stone? I use an oven stone).

      (See @queergirl it’s not just me !!!)

      • I used the recipe from Joy of Baking which you can find here!

        She has a really extensive video of the whole process which is awesome! I made it 4 times with different butters, and I ended up liking Kerrigold the best. It was the softest and most malleable of all the butters I tried (I also used Plugra and the Land O Lakes “European style” but they were both really hard to bash out into a flat rectangle to fold the dough around.)
        It was a bit easier than I imagined! It’s very straightforward as far as ingredients so everything’s in the technique. It was totally fine in just my regular oven, and I just baked on parchment lined pans.

        I do have a baking stone! I use it for pizzas and bread loaves!

        Mary Berry!! Is such a good starter name!! I chose Waverly because both she and my starter are small but fierce.

    • WOW. I’ve always wanted to try making pain au chocolat (or any pastry, really), but it makes me nervous. Plus my parents apparently nearly divorced over my dad’s attempt at croissants, so. But go you!!!!

      Have fun on your trip :)

  4. I discovered last weekend that after hearing you guys talk about it for ages that this is finally available IN CANADA:

    …Where we will be sure to actually pronounce it correctly. :P

  5. Hi guys!

    I haven’t been doing anything Extra Cool, but I did tear out the carpeting in my bedroom, and now I feel very Adult and On Top Of Things.

    Also, my back really hurts. :) :) :) :)

    I was gone for a few weeks so here is the catch-up:

    1. Learned some French in Quebec for 3 weeks, spent a weekend afterwards in Montréal, took part in their first ever contribution to “the most Wuthering Heights Day Ever” Kate Bush flash mob phenomenon

    2. Spent 3 days in Burlington, VT; it’s beautiful and I want to move there

    3. Spent two days in NYC, thrifted three solid shirts

    4. Went home (virginia) and slept for a week straight

      • I def took a selfie of me holding a crowbar because it’s the most butch I’ve ever felt ?

    • That is super adult – I am in awe of anyone who does actual home improvement. I mean, I still stick art up on my walls wit blu-tack.

    • There was a Kate Bush flash mob happening???!

      How was it? Did some one wish upon a star to make it happen? You glorious lion heart, you.

      • Yes! Once a year, in cities across the globe, weirdos dress up as Kate Bush in the music video for wuthering Heights and remake that same music video, EN MASSE

        In the city where it started / big cities in Europe, this is an EVENT with participants in the hundreds

        Since this was the first one in Montréal, about 50 weirdos showed up, and about 50 spectators, which was sort of perfect because it meant it still felt VERY ODD

        An entire family did it, too! A mom and dad and their son!

        My hostel Buddy, who I met the day before, came with me. We thrifted for our red dress and black belt that morning. Then we got there and realized we DID NOT have the dance memorized for real. So we stood in back and swung around and waved our arms and got a mad case of the church giggles

        It was p great

      • 1. Trois Rivières is p boring, but it’s possible I didn’t explore enough
        2. Trying to only speak in French with other people who also barely speak French is VERY DIFFICULT
        3. Quebec City is fun, and also it’s way easier to practice French there than it is in Montréal: in ~ Québec Ville ~ Shop workers seem pleased when you attempt French, but in Montréal everyone is conditioned to switch into English when they hear your accent. Which is so kind of them!
        4. I have feelings about occasionally pronomial verbs which is: Why
        And also: RUDE
        And also: fuck this

        But honestly I’m p ok with being barely literate in French as long as I can sort of speak it and understand it

        And I think my comprehension improved a bit and my comfort with speaking broken French with natives improved a good bit, which is nice :) :)

        Also Québecois accents are hard!i felt like such an ass, because my teachers taught that Parisian “queens english” type French, and that’s bizarre when you think of it. I live on the American continent. Why don’t they teach American Style French???

  6. I got a haircut! I’ve wanted short hair for a long time, but always worried it would look weird with curly hair or a round face. But I don’t care! And I love it! Yay!

  7. Hello everyone!
    That was a wonderful description of your last couple of days (weeks?) Alaina! I´m glad you are starting grad school, and you´re moving and life feels so awesome! Life is pretty hard at the moment for me, I just broke up with my boyfriend of many years. It hurts a lot more than I could have ever imagined, but I still think it was the best decision possible. In a way I really can relate to the feelings, you, Alaina, put in your beautiful text above. I´m very sad for our (in many ways awesome) relationship to end and I kind of still can´t believe, that I did it. But there also is a tiny glimmer of the new beginning, the endless possibilities… (maybe getting two cats, for example :) …) I have a couple of super great friends, who I can talk to but still I´m really scared of all the free time and all the time alone and I was really looking forward to this Open Thread to read all your awesome life plans and experiences and thoughts… :)

    One other thing, thats new in my life: I started at my new job this monday, and its great (Alaina, in an Open Thread some time ago, you told me, that you were sure my job interview would go great – and you were right!). Also I´m planning on seeing Ghostbusters within the next week (its newly in theaters since yesterday where I live) and I´m super excited for that! :) And I´m planning on eating lots of ice cream and whatch all the animated movies I always wanted to see (maybe “The Lorax” or “Robots” or… I don´t know, it just has to be funny and nothing sad or complicated – maybe someone has a recommendation for me? I know very few animated movies of the past 10 years or so…). And just generelly take really good care of me until I feel better. I wish you all a great weekend with lots of time for the people, pets and activities you love!

      • Thank you so much! :) That feels so good to hear that (since I often don´t believe I´m good at things). Your support (and the texts you write!!) make(s) me very happy!

  8. Thanks to a lovely really encouraging friend, I went and saw a production of The Wiz with my summer class (living in a college town with a huge shakespeare festival that does other plays as well has its perks). And it was a great show!!! Lion was a female character in this version, and honestly now I only ever want to see Lion as a woman. It fit so well and was soo good! The chemistry between Lion and Dorothy was just SO good!!! <3
    The same friend and I have been like subtly flirting? and we finally said that we both are kinda crushing. But they live across the country and have had bad experiences with distance, which I get, I'm not sure how well that would work for me either. But I've never had a mutual crush with someone so great. why does she live across the country? Why?? :(

    • I feel you very much on the feeling of “Everything would be soo great, why do the practical circumstances have to get in the way!?” Has she made it clear, that its not an option at all to her to somehow still try it…? Or is the distance between you two maybe a temporary thing? (Probably not, right?) I wish you good luck!

      • haha yeah damn circumstances. She told me that when she had tried it before it went really bad. So that isn’t the clearest that maybe we couldn’t figure something out, but it is pretty clear and I want to respect that. Having not even been in any relationship before I’m not even sure how I feel about it myself, except really liking her. I don’t know, still lots of flirting which is nice whether its more or not. Thank you :)

        • Hmm… You´re right, that´s pretty clear but not totally… I agree that its important to approach such feelings like hers (because of her past experience) with respect. Maybe you find a way to mention that you really like her and in case she (at some point) changes her mind about the potential long distance situaion, you would be open to it. But it would have to be clear to her, that you are not trying to pressure her into changing her mind. And if you are not that sure yourself, maybe thats not really what fits you and your situation best. And lots of flirting is still really nice, I very much agree! :)

  9. I’m not going to sugar coat this: I’m lazy. I keep telling myself that I should get out and do some exercise, but it never happens. Now “Pokemon Go” has come along. Finally I’m actually getting out there and going for walks. It hasn’t been without it’s mishaps though. I live in Lousyana, and it’s regularly 100+ here. Walking during the day is frightful. Also, the two days following my first night, my game was messed up. I got about seven pokemon that first night, but nothing since. I walked my college campus, my neighborhood, and even the local park where the pokestops are. Nothing. I couldn’t even see the pokestops. I asked another player where the pokestop was, and she non-helpfully said, “Over there” in a general direction. I walked for a half-mile, and then a half-mile back. My shirt was absolutely sodden when I got back to the house. Finally another player helped me out, and told me to delete my game and re-download it. Things have been aces ever since. When I was leaving the park today I caught (what I think is) a rare pokemon. A guy, who there with his SO, leaned out his window and yelled, “Did you just catch a Pinsir?” I gave him a thumbs up, and he replied, “YEAH, BABY!” I almost crowed at the shared moment.

    Thanks for letting me share my moment.

    • That is a great story! My only pokemon story is from yesterday, when my sister had the basic concept of the game mansplained to her in the park. Not as fun!

      That’s great about your class! And please be careful in the heat–drink lots of water!

    • omg i LOVE pokemon go stories of like lifting people from depression/sedentary lifestyles I LOVE TECHNOLOGY!!!

    • I feel your pain re: Pokemon Go being a glitchy POS sometimes, but it’s awesome that it’s getting people (like us!) out of the house. Also the little shared moments with the game are pretty cool – I know people who have started bringing generators to popular spots so people can charge, and people in those spots usually make a point of calling out good Pokemon. (This may or may not have caused minor stampedes at some point.)

      And honestly? Yes, it’s incredibly nerdy and yes, it’s… concerning that it took an app like this to get so many people out of the house. But it’s working. It’s creating community and getting people out and exploring their cities. That’s pretty damn cool.

  10. hey austin! what are you studying? I like Austin, or I should say I really love spending all afternoon with a pool noodle at Barton Springs and wandering around S Congress street with iced coffee and thinking about what I should buy at Uncommon Objects and buying nothing. Girlfriend and I are going there this fall, she was born in San Antonio and her family is very intense about Texas but I have spent more time in Austin than she has as an adult, so we will this fall.

    I’ve felt really busy lately, but what I’ve been really loving lately is a) our CSA, which has delivered an unholy number of plums and donuts peaches to us b) I was on a road trip all last week and came home overstimulated and tired and have spent as much time as I can this week (which is not much) doing nothing with my gf, and she is one of my favorite people to do nothing with c) last weekend our friend came up from Oakland and we went blueberry picking and swimming in a FREEZING COLD RIVER but it was quiet and woodsy and nobody bothered us.

    And tonight I’m going to get takeout and go to the silly queer outdoor movie tonight with a friend I haven’t seen in a long long time.

    And it’s coming up on the Perseids meteor shower, and I have a bunch of weekend trips planned with my honey and some with friends, and those will be super fun. YAY.

    • wait you’ve just informed me of so many cool austin things!! I knew about Barton Springs and cannot WAIT to go there (once I find my bathing suit that is packed away somewhere…) so thanks!!

      also, your CSA sounds amazing

  11. Congrats on the move, Austin suppose to be a great city! Coincidently last night I was listening to a podcast called Street Focus. It’s host is travel photographer Valerie Jardin and one of her recent guests was Austin street photographer Dickie Bennett, who showed her around town a while back. He pretty much was going through a little of the cities culture, along with some of the best places to visit, eat, and of course shoot/people watch. One of the places mentioned is a cool spot near Capitol where people pretty much go bat watching, the other one was 6th street, which they both said is great, but can get too crowded. It has me wanting to visit now.

    How are all you beautiful gentle beings doing? My week has been pretty calm. Most of my week as been quiet, which is good and bad. Though I did had a weird case of transphobia last Friday. I told a sales person as kindly as I could not to gender me/call me sir while looking for lipstick. Person gave a confused disgust looked, ugh. It’s like the odds are stacked against trans folks getting misgendered. It’s like we can’t win. On the other hand I do look very good in that shade of matte purple(Maybelline) I bought. Side note: anyone have any tips on to make sure my lipstick doesn’t smudge or come of when eating food? I’m worried unintentionally eating lipstick may get me sick in the long run.

    Also, on the plus side, I am pretty sure I made a new long distance friend, who actually messages me to see how things are going. So yay there! I also maybe going hiking with a friend Sunday, and it won’t be too hot so that’s a bonus.

    I stayed mostly home Sunday, but I found this positive messaged tequila add painted up on my regular walks at work this week.

    Side note because of Valerie and her podcast(+random post I found on the web) has me shooting in b&w more. I kind of like it.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post. Have positive weekend! Good luck at school for those who are starting back up!!

    • I just realized after reading someone else’s post, I think they said Congress street in Austin no Capital.

      • Hey! I have no tips for you re: lipstick smudges but I don’t think unintentially eating lipstick will get you ill as long as there is nothing crazy toxic in your lipstick :)

        I could be wrong though. I’m not a doctor ?

        ALSO congrats on a new friend :) :) :)

      • I would happily go shopping with you and give people disgusted looks back and make them as uncomfortable as possible. I’m sorry, my friend. *hugs*

    • I’ve heard about the bat watching place! it sounds terrifying!!! don’t bats have rabies???? but i also really wanna do it. and per usual, I LOVE your photography!!!

      • Thank you! I was thinking the same thing, but it’s a popular spot and it’s being recommended; so, the bats must not be too active? Ask local friends?

    • There was a Kate Bush flash mob happening???!

      How was it? Did some one wish upon a star to make it happen? You glorious lion heart, you.

    • Aargh sorry Al, I have no idea how that comment duplicated here – I couldn’t make my phone do this if I tried.

      What I was trying to post was firstly, thank you for always posting such interesting and gorgeous photos! And also, for lipstick, I used to blot, add powder on top, and reapply lipstick twice, and that seemed to work really well for me.

      There’s also clear stuff you can buy to go over your lipstick. I personally did not like the weird rate of the one I tried, but there are probably different kinds.

      Also, I think the blotting etc. is what Bette Davis used to do, so there’s that.

  12. That’s great your move went well!! I’m moving at the end of the month–just across town, so I don’t think I’ll be stopping to camp. I’m excited though! After a breakup and almost a year of bouncing around, I’m finally going to be settled for a bit. Already looking forward to being all homey and cozy this winter!

    In other news, I’m going to try and leave work early tomorrow. If I get out /really/ early, I might meet up with some softball people down the shore. But my backup plan is to just get out in time to watch the usa vs fra match. When’s Pinoe playing??

    Good luck with grad school Alaina and have a wonderful weekend everybody!

  13. I walked in our Dyke March last Saturday and I had this moment part way through where everything seemed so right, it made me smile and all of the stress I have been carrying around was gone.

    I took possession of the condo that I just bought last week and I have been doing nothing but painting and getting it ready to move into next weekend. I had a real sense of accomplishment last night when I put all of the plug and light switch plates back on in the living space and even though the floors really need to be replaced the space looked so good. I can’t wait to be living there full time!

  14. Things are going quite well for me right now, and the most exciting thing is that I signed up for a-camp!! I’ve never been before, and I can’t wait! Anyone else going for the first time?

    Also, I just got back from a week-long beach vacation and feel much more relaxed. I went parasailing in Provincetown!

  15. Hi, Alaina! I’m glad your move went well!

    There’s not really much sun shining on my face here lately. It’s been raining most days, lol. On the plus side, this church-picnic thing that my sister invited me to go to was canceled and I didn’t have to go to it. I’m not really a church person (which my sister knows, sigh) and getting along with her can be bumpy sometimes, especially since my mom probably would have been there, and getting along with her is even bumpier. Furthermore, it’s a 2-hour drive to where she lives.

    • it’s honestly my favorite thing when plans I don’t want to happen don’t happen! I’m glad you didn’t have to do things you didn’t want to do! hope your weekend gets better <3 <3

  16. My friends. The last few weeks have been, without exaggeration, the absolute worst time of my entire life. And I’m just bad in general at expressing things or asking for things, but so many people have been reaching out to me in meaningful ways, and making themselves available and present when I am not even sure what I need. I dunno. I have always known my friends are great people, but I’m pretty blown away by them right now.

    Um. There is a game coming out this week that I have been obsessing over for 2 years. It feels rude to be excited about it right now but I am seriously looking forward to spending hours in a pretend world.

    The Olympics. I just love them.

    My cat, always. She is very small and grumpy and old.

    • omg, THE OLYMPICCSSSSSSSSS!!! i hate nationalism, but i love cheering for U S A U S A U S AAAAAAAAA

      and gymnastics.

      and curling. do they do curling in summer olympics?

      • Curling is winter only. It’s pretty ridiculous that curling isn’t included in every major sporting and or general world event. I have never heard anybody complain that there is too much curling.

  17. OKAY EVERYONE, I said on the Donald Trump Feelings Atrium thread that I would do this and now here we are. It’s a Defeat Trump thread, right here, right now. Here are some things you can do in order to get involved! Some of them will be Clinton campaign things and some of them will not. The political perspective of this thread is pragmatically pro-Clinton on account of we have a two-party system and one of the candidates this year is actually Donald Fucking Trump, who really needs to not be president ever. I hope some of you will be inspired!

    Option 0: Get Yourself (and Friends) Registered to Vote
    Even if you think you are registered it’s a good idea to check! Grab your driver’s license / other ID and make sure you’re currently registered. Then, grab your friends / family and encourage them to do the same. Just imagine if each of us did this for 5 people – so many voters! Yes! will have all the information you need.

    This website is also super useful for checking your registration, and will generate a voter registration form that you can simply print and mail:

    If you are an American living abroad, you need to HURRY and get over to ! go go go!

    Option 1: Donate Your Money
    If you have more money than time, or philanthropy is just more your style, why not throw a couple bucks at some candidates? There’s always the option of donating to the Clinton campaign, but some more politically astute friends of mine have told me that at this point, it might be even better to direct your donations to close Senate races. Taking back the Senate is key no matter what happens in the Presidential race simply because Clinton would need a Democratic Senate to support her and well… obviously we would want to put the brakes on Trump as much as possible. So here are the links to Dem candidates in what are likely to be close races:

    Maggie Hassan (NH):

    Katie McGuinty (PA):

    Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ):

    Deborah Ross (NC):

    Pat Murphy (FL):

    Ted Strickland (OH):

    Russ Feingold (WI):

    Catherine Cortez Masteo (NV):

    Jason Kander (MO):

    If you would rather let campaign strategists decide who needs your $, you can also donate to the DCCC which funds Democratic congressional candidacies:

    In addition, you could also consider squirreling away some money to support volunteers during crunch time in October. If you don’t have the time or inclination to participate in phone banking, for example, you could still make the phone bankers’ day by ordering them some pizza.

    Option 2: Donate Your Time

    If you have more time than money or you love to hit the streets and do canvassing, let’s talk about your options for that. is your first stop to get signed up for 1 million campaign emails and also, to easily find events and volunteering opportunities in your area. All you have to do is plug in your zip code and email. Some of this stuff is way simpler to sign up for and participate in than I ever expected – for example, you can do phone calls into a swing state from the comfort of your home.

    A friend of mine who had experience working for the Obama campaign was nice enough to write up little descriptions of different campaign volunteering tasks for some of my friends and I, so that we can sign up for stuff without having to wonder “what is it actually like to do voter registration?” or whatever. This is a bit subjective of course, but a lot of folks have found it useful so far. She said I can copy them to show to you, so I’ll do that for each of them in a separate reply to this comment. Here’s what you will see below:

    1. Voter reg
    2. Supporter ID canvassing
    3. Supporter ID phonebanking – autodialer and non-autodialer
    4. Persuasion canvassing
    5. Persuasion phonebanking
    6. Data entry
    7. GOTV phonebanking & canvassing
    8. Rides to polls
    9. Other support activities

    • 1. Voter Registration:

      “We obviously don’t have a list of UNregistered voters, so with this one, you’re usually just casting a wide net. The strategy is to set up a table with a big VOTER REGISTRATION sign or walk around with a clipboard that says REGISTER TO VOTE on the back. These efforts are virtually always nominally nonpartisan, because that way a lot of places like Walmart (hi Laura Powers!) will allow you to set up. This is still a great strategy because obviously as we know, unregistered voters are on our side far more often than not. (Generally if someone asks you point blank, you just say “we’re sponsored by the Democratic Party, but we’re happy to register anyone.”)

      If someone says they are interested in registering, you have them fill out the form. Once I had been doing it for a little while, I actually started filling it out myself while interviewing them, just because not everyone is great at forms and that way I could be confident that everything was complete. Then you give it to them to review and sign. Ideally, you want to hang onto the form and turn it in back at HQ yourself because a) that way you know it’s actually going to get submitted and b) it counts toward your poor harassed Field Organizer’s quota, and they need it. But if someone doesn’t feel comfortable giving it to you (depending where you live it might contain stuff like their SSN), that’s fine, just make sure to give them instructions on how to turn it in themselves. If someone isn’t registered but says they don’t have time, just give them the blank form with the same instructions.

      Depending on where you live, you might run into people who are ineligible due to their criminal record. There is generally a process by which they can get their rights back, which is NOT publicized to them when they are released. In 2008 I met dozens of people in this situation and literally none of them had any idea that they could ever vote again. If this is something that applies to the state where you’re volunteering, the campaign may have some flyers or a the number of a point person you can give to the person to help guide them through that process. People get really excited about that, it’s so great.

      I would highly, highly recommend this to anyone as a great way to get started volunteering. You don’t always get a super high hit rate depending on where you are – in some areas almost everyone is already registered or is ineligible etc – but there’s also a very low rate of assholes and otherwise angry people. It’s a great gateway into other forms of volunteering.”

    • #2: Supporter ID phonebanking. Here’s how this one works:

      The campaign has a database of all registered voters. They need to figure out who in this database is supporting them, so that they can focus on those people when it comes time for GOTV. (We’ve been throwing this around – if you’re not familiar, it stands for Get Out The Vote.) They can filter this list of voters in all kinds of ways. For example, there are metrics that can be used to identify people as probably Strong Republicans – those people would generally be filtered out. Strong Democrats might be filtered into a list of their own, as people who are most likely to be willing to volunteer themselves. But there’s a wide swath of people in the middle who are unidentified, or identified weakly, or maybe they have simply never been contactable. These are the people we need to get in touch with and identify in some way.

      There are various different methods that can be used in phonebanking, and this is an area where my info may well be out of date because the technology has changed, but here are the basics:

      – Paper call sheets: You’ll get a paper spreadsheet containing whatever info the campaign has for each voter, generally something like: First name, Last name, Gender (if known), Age (often incorrect), Address (maybe), Phone Number, and Party Identification (if known). There will also be a place for you to circle their responses to whatever questions you’ve been given to ask. You’ll be given a basic script, and it will go something like this (but you can totally put your own spin on it]:

      Hi, could I speak with [Voter]?
      Hi, my name is XYZ and I’m calling with [Virginia Victory ’16]. I was wondering who you’re planning to support in the Presidential election.
      [If Hillary] Great! And are you also planning on supporting [local candidate] and [other local candidate?]
      [If yes] Okay wonderful, that’s great to hear! These are going to be pretty tight races – if you’d be able to come help out at all, we could really use you. Is there a time you might be able to come by?
      [If unsure] I see. Have you made up your mind about [local race] or [other local race?]
      [If definitely not Hillary] Ok, thanks for your time.
      [If profane] hang up, listening to that shit ain’t your job.

      Once the call is complete, mark down the data and move on to the next.

      Note: When making ID calls, make sure to identify yourself however they ask you to. There are strategic reasons for sometimes IDing as something like “Virginia Victory ’16” instead of “the Democrats” or whatever, so just go with what they tell you. But it’s generally ok to say “we’re sponsored by the Democrats” if asked directly, assuming that is actually the case.

      Second note: Depending on where you are, the campaign office may or may not have their own phone lines for you to make calls from. If you know someplace (like a union office or a supportive small business) that would be willing to host a phone bank, definitely tell your organizer! But be prepared for the fact that you may need to use your personal phone. You will rarely ever get callbacks and if you do, you can handle them however you choose (screen them, say “oh yeah I was making calls for Victory ’16, who are you supporting?”, whatever)

      Phonebanking with computer-assisted Autodialer:

      If your campaign office is all fancy-like, they might have you log into their computer system and dial in to make calls, like dialing into a conference call. The system will make a bunch of calls and skip over the no-answers etc until it gets somebody live on the line. Then their info will pop up on the screen and you’ll launch into your script. Same ideas above, except you get a much higher number of actual people per hour because the computer is filtering them out. The downside is that sometimes there can be a slight lag on the line, which is why sometimes you pick up one of these calls and there’s dead air after the first time you say “Hello” – the computer is waiting for the Hello, and that’s the point where it kicks the call over, but the whole thing takes a second or so before the call gets fully connected. That can lead to some people being slightly annoyed, but overall it’s about the same as calling from sheets. When the call is over, you enter your data directly into the computer, so there’s no data entry needed later on.

      – Phone-only autodialer:

      Same as above, except the whole thing is totally blind. You have no data on who you’re calling, so you just talk to whoever picks up unless it’s a kid. When the call is over, you submit the data using the phone keypad – each number corresponds to a different response. One of the major upsides of this method is that it’s equally accessible to blind volunteers, if you have any.

    • #3: Supporter ID Canvassing:

      The idea behind this is the same as for Supporter ID Phonebanking, but it’s face-to-face. The campaign organizer will filter the data in some way (say “likely Democrats who haven’t been reachable by phone”) and then use a map tool to put together a packet of people who theoretically should all live pretty close together. (YMMV based on how skillful they are with the tool.) Generally speaking, you go out with a partner unless you specifically ask not to. (As Laura’s experience above shows us, some campaign workers are pushy and awful and only focused on their numbers. If someone asks you to do something you’re not comfortable with like go out alone, go into an area you don’t feel comfortable with etc, you should always feel free to stand up for yourself and ask for what you need.)

      You and your partner will drive together to the area indicated on the walk packet. If you’re both experienced and comfortable, at this point you can split up and one person can do the odd side of the street while the other does evens. (If the organizer was skilled, the packet should be divided in a way that makes this easy.) Otherwise you can stay together at each door while you figure it out, that’s fine too.

      Note: Your walk packet will NOT include every single house on the block. Do not knock on doors that are not in your walk packet. There is a reason they were not included – they’ve already been ID’d on the phone so we don’t have to bother them again, or they’re not registered to voted at that address, or they’ve been IDd as extremely unlikely to be supporters, etc. I used to get volunteers who would assume I made a mistake by not including all the addresses, and would come back with these crazy extensive handwritten notes about people we weren’t targeting. Do not be like those volunteers.

      The script is pretty similar to the phone script.

      The campaign may provide you with a bottle of water or something, but in general, you should come prepared for a day outside. Wear weather-appropriate clothes and comfortable shoes, bring water and power bars or something, wear sunscreen, all that jazz. Campaign gear (buttons etc) is great if you have it.

      In general just use basic common sense in terms of safety. I would avoid going into someone’s house, that kind of thing. If you can’t get to the door for some reason (locked fence, dogs, whatever) there is a way to indicate that on the sheet.

      I actually disagree about phonebanking being the best entry into all of this, btw. I still think voter reg is best, but honestly I think going door-to-door is much less scary and more rewarding than calling. Generally speaking, people are much nicer in person. Not everyone will be thrilled to see you, but I’ve never had anyone be truly horrible to me when I knocked on their door (and I’ve had some shit said to me on the phone). Also, you don’t have to talk to as many different people per hour, so it feels less overwhelming.

    • #5: GOTV calls and canvassing:

      GOTV really starts whenever your state starts allowing most people to vote, which varies widely. If your state has early voting, there will be a major push to convince people to early vote. That’s because the campaign can get a list of people who have voted, and pull those people out of the “universe” of people they still need to talk to. It’s great to start with a big pool of people you’re contacting for GOTV, because it means you have a lot of supporters, but you want to shrink that population as much as possible through early voting so that you can focus your resources on the people who are least likely to turn out on Election Day.

      A lot of people refuse to vote early because they really like the feeling of going to vote in person on Election Day. Some people also have concerns about whether their votes would actually be counted – you can get info from the campaign to assuage those concerns. But I’ve found that it can be really effective to simply explain to people that voting early is like another kind of donation to their preferred candidates – it’s giving them back the time they would have had to spent calling you during that final push.

      The last four days of the campaign, including Election Day itself, are obviously the biggest push. At this time the goal is to reach out to every single person who has self-identified as a supporter, as well as everyone you strongly believe to be a supporter but who you have not been able to reach in the past, to make sure they actually get their asses into the voting booth. If you have enough manpower to get through the whole list, you will literally keep cycling back through it until everyone on it says they’ve voted or the polls close.

      Here is a script we used for these calls in 2008, with autodialer instructions included so you can see how that works:

      First dial into the dial in number and follow the instructions to enter your pin. When prompted hang up and the system will call you back.
      DIAL IN: 1-888- 778-8612 PIN: (given when you arrive)
      {When the system calls you back wait 10 seconds and then press the * button on your phone, then you should begin to hear music. When the music stops or you hear a beep you have been connected to a voter so begin script immediately. If you do not hear music or wait more than a few minutes without talking to a voter, hang up the phone and dial 1-888- 778-8612 and try again.}

      Hi, my name is and I’m calling for Victory ‘08. How are you today?

      I wanted to remind you that Tuesday, November 4 th is an extremely important Election Day to lower energy costs, get our economy back on track and bring ethics to Washington. Remember to vote. Do you know where you polling location is?

      [If no] Okay, I will have someone call you back with that information.

      If you have any other questions or need a ride to the polls, please call our toll free hotline at 877-787- 4501. Get up and go vote to move Alaska forward!

      Thank you.

      This call was paid for by the Alaska Democratic Party.

      End of Call:

      At the end of each call press the pound (#) key on your phone. Wait for the double beep, then enter the results of your call. You should then hear single beep, registering that your results have been accepted. Please stay on the line to wait for your next call. If you don’t hear the beep or music enter the code again very slowly.


      PRESS [1]…..Already Voted
      PRESS [2]…..Has not voted
      PRESS [3]…. Needs a Ride to the Polls
      PRESS [4]…..No Answer
      PRESS [5]…..Needs follow-up call
      PRESS 77….Refused
      PRESS 88…..Hung-Up Before Hello
      PRESS 95…..Disconnected number
      PRESS 99….Answering Machine/Call Back

    • #6: Data entry.

      Any information collected on paper – the vast majority of walk sheets, and a large proportion of call sheets – needs to be manually entered into the system. Generally speaking, a given field organizer is responsible for entering the data for themselves and any volunteers working under them. The campaign will have guidelines about how soon after collection it should be entered, and you work until it’s done. Basically they’ll pull up a report containing the same data as the call sheets in the same order, and you just go down the rows checking the appropriate boxes corresponding with the information given.

      There is a lot of this that needs to be done, but there are also a lot of off-hours during the course of the day when you can work on it because it’s not a productive time to do any of the other stuff you need to do (ie not a good time to make calls because most people aren’t home, not a good time to do voter registration because it’s 90F outside and nobody is around, etc etc). I don’t honestly remember having much of a difficult time keeping up with my data, but I’m also very fast at it. And there were definitely some nights I would have gone home at 9pm instead of 10pm if somebody had been there to take it off my hands. But as organizers, we generally considered data entry to be gateway volunteering. Come into the office, see how nice everybody is, listen to everyone else making calls and doing just fine, now aren’t you ready to generate some data of your own?

      I do understand that calls and canvassing aren’t possible for everybody, and anything you can do to help out is better than not doing anything. But I would very strongly encourage everyone to at least try the other options I laid out above before deciding data entry is the only thing they can do. It’s a solid place to start, though, to get a feel for how everything works.

    • #7: Other support activities:

      So, first and foremost what I’d recommend is going to your local office and just asking them what they need. When you do this, be prepared for a friendly but hard sell on the other activities that I outlined above. Be firm, let them know what your limitations are (e.g. mobility issues mean you can’t canvass, hearing problems make phone calls difficult, limited time but you would like to donate resources, etc) and they will work with you to find something that you can do to contribute.

      Donating resources:
      The office will almost certainly have a wish list – if they don’t, that’s only because nobody has offered them anything yet and they didn’t realize they needed one, but they will think of two dozen things over the 24 hours after you first ask so check back. If you have something specific you want to donate, just give them a call first to make sure it’s really something they need. Here are some suggestions:
      – Old (but functional!!) printers with toner
      – Mini-fridge or microwave (I just mention this because lots of people have extra ones collecting dust in their garage)
      – Electric fans (depending on climate/setup of office)
      – Power strips
      – Staplers and other office supplies
      – Printer paper
      – Chemical hand- and toe-warmers (depending on climate)
      – Bottled water and snacks
      – Coffee (ground), coffee filters, creamer, sugar (this is assuming the office has a coffee maker. If not, a coffee maker!)
      – Gas cards
      – Dry erase boards and markers
      – Poster board and markers/paint

      Donating food:
      Campaign organizers are generally living off whatever shitty food they can get their hands on quickly and for cheap. Depending on where they’ve managed to find housing for themselves, they may or may not have access to a kitchen (or the time to use one). If you want to do something like treat the office to pizza one evening, that’s awesome! Free food is always great. But healthier, non-junk-food options like sandwiches or a veggie plate might be even more appreciated. Call the office and work something out with them – make sure to coordinate a night that it would be most appreciated (rather than a time when everyone is out at an event or something).

      Phonebank location:
      Campaigns are always looking for places for their volunteers to make calls. Not everyone is willing to make calls from their personal cell phone or necessarily has the minutes to do so. If you know of a location that has lots of separate phone lines (allowing simultaneous calls) and is supportive of the campaign, hook them up!

      Canvassing/voter registration location:
      If you know of a spot or an event that seems like it might be particularly good for connecting with potential voters/potential supporters, bring it to the attention of your organizer. For example: outdoor concerts/shows, community sporting events, highly shopping center with lots of foot traffic, etc. The best areas are public rather than private property, but it’s worth mentioning no matter what because a lot of places will allow voter registration canvassing if it’s nominally non-partisan.

      Rides to polls:
      I actually have never done this. Broadly speaking, people notify the campaign if they need a ride, and then you go give them a ride. But I don’t know how the logistics work.

      Supporter housing:
      Lots of people come in from out of town to support the campaign in a large variety of ways. Many/most of these people are fairly young (students or recent graduates) and can’t afford rent. When I was a campaign worker, the first place I worked, we actually slept in the office in sleeping bags (until we got reported for living in a non-residential-zoned building) and showered at the Y or took sponge baths. It was not great. The second place, I had supporter housing – I stayed in someone’s spare room – and I appreciated it SO MUCH.

      Generally speaking, you will not see much of the person you are hosting because they’ll be working crazy hours. They’ll need their own key if possible and probably a place to park. Ideally they’d be able to use your kitchen, but you would not be expected to provide food (unless you want to of course). It’s generally pretty low key. If you would prefer to host a certain type of person (e.g. someone of your same gender), just let the campaign know and it should not be a problem.

      Yard signs:
      I saved this for last because it’s one of the least helpful things you can do, although still better than nothing. Yard signs are the bane of any campaign office because people are always coming in asking for them, and giving “putting up a yard sign” as the way they are supporting the campaign, but not wanting to do anything else. Yard signs are nice because they make the person whose yard it’s in feel more committed and excited, and anything that gets a supporter in the door is helpful. And they may actually be helpful in terms of raising awareness for local candidates who have extremely low name recognition – I’m not sure about that. But for high-profile/national candidates, they are much less effective than any other thing you can do, and if putting one up in your yard is the only thing you’re willing to do, there’s a strong chance that the field staff will be rolling their eyes behind your back. So put up yard signs! That’s great! But pick something else off this list to pair it with.

      Anything else you guys want to know about that I forgot?

      • lol, to be clear, that was my friend asking my other friends “Anything else you guys want to know about that I forgot” – I can probably not answer your questions! But there you have it, a massive campaigning infodump.

    • ?????????? good shit go౦ԁ sHit? thats ✔ some good??shit right??there??? right✔there ✔✔if i do ƽaү so my self ? i say so ? thats what im talking about right there right there (chorus: ʳᶦᵍʰᵗ ᵗʰᵉʳᵉ) mMMMMᎷМ? ?? ?НO0ОଠOOOOOОଠଠOoooᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒ? ?? ? ? ? ? ? ? ??Good shit

      • I’m not a US citizen and I don’t even live in your country but I’m scared shitless about the mere possibility of Trump being the President of your country.

        So, is there any chance you can publish this excellent comment as a separate thing/post? I’m just asking because @girlscoutmotto is giving a lot of useful information, information that many people need to know.

        Thank you, @girlscoutmotto, this is amazing and thank you for taking what I’m sure was a lot of your time to give us all this information.

        PD: this deserves a comment of the year award.

        • Haha, thanks! It was really a lot of copying and pasting but I’ll pass your thanks on to my friends who put together the Senate list and the campaigning info.

          Also “be prepared” is the actual Girl Scout motto so, you know. Trefoil hand signs all around. :D

  18. Have felt lousy in my body for a while, and had some Food Issues, so booked myself in for a massage plus a dance class – nice way to start the weekend. I am wobbling on my self-imposed news media/twitter exile, though.

    • dance classes always help me to feel more in touch and proud of my body, i hope it does the same for you! don’t feel bad about taking a social media break! they’re so vital.

  19. Recent small good things:
    – saw a baby duck on my lunch break yesterday
    – on my morning off I got wafffles with my sister and we painted a jug at a craft-shop-place
    – had dentist appointment and eye test and don’t need any fillings or new glasses!
    – my cat is the cutest

    • whenever i think of waffles i think of little small Eleven from stranger things now. were they eggos?

  20. Finally moving in with my girlfriend tomorrow!! Neither of us have ever moved in with a partner before, so this is extra exciting/we’re probably being a little naive about how great it’ll be, but who even cares?! I’m particularly looking forward to my dad getting all confused as we gleefully ask him to take lots of photos of us standing next to the U-Haul he’s renting to help us get our furniture there…
    In deeply tragic news, however, I just got my hair cut quite short because the summer heat in Toronto is appalling, but only realised as I was watching my hair fall to the ground that I’d been rocking a Barb-from-Stranger-Things haircut til then! Alas. Fall hair goals, perhaps :)

    • Congrats on moving in, Jane! You’re going to love sharing a space with your partner. Can this long-partnered veteran give you a bit of advice? Living with your honey is super-exciting and awesome, but make sure each of you has your own space and time to yourselves. You will be tripping over each other a little bit at first, and that’s fine. The solution is communication. I don’t care what the problem is. Throw communication at it and see if it sticks. Only failing that do you move on to Plan B (which may very well be Time and Space Alone).

      • Thanks for the advice! We’ve been hearing that a fair bit, and I’m definitely fairly solitary by nature, so I’ll be pushing to make sure we get out of each other’s hair a fair bit. We’re moving to a place with lots of cafes and parks and such, so there’ll be plenty of places to go for a bit of alone time or separate work time, and such :)

    • i feel like barb hair fits perfectly with fall, so you got time!!! she was always in long sleeves and pants, too much for summer heat.

  21. Alaina ~ you hosting FOT makes me feel like it’s all a fabulous musical, and we’re gearing up for your big number; so that makes me smile!

    My AM at work is having a very difficult time, and I was able to tell her it’s okay for her to go see her family tomorrow, instead of coming to work. I feel really grateful to be in that position.

    Last weekend I had imagawayaki (yummy small puffy pancakey things with a red bean filling) – they were so good!! I look forward to them all year.

    I’m also loving the breeze from the window on the bus to work. Actually I just love taking the bus. It’s crowded, sometimes smelly, but I love every day seeing all the various people. I feel like it connects all of us in our diversity in a psychological as well as concrete way.

    Also, I’m so excited for Vancouver queer film fest coming up soon yayayay!!

    Have a luscious weekend everyone, whether you’re working or not!

    • honestly, i love when public transportation is a good experience. it sometimes is gross and people smell, but sometimes you get lovely breezes and connections!! that’s such a good thing to smile about :)

  22. Hey everyone,

    SO, this is meant to be a cheerful Friday thread. That being the case, I’ll start with the good stuff. I am going back to Pittsburgh this week to celebrate my grandma’s 100th birthday. That is super awesome, right? How many times do we ever get to wish someone a happy century of life? And what’s even cooler is how badass and awesome my grandma is. I kick myself for not appreciating her more when I was a dumb kid, but my grandpa was just such a “big” personality and we were so close, and so I didn’t have the good sense to be as impressed with Grandma. After Grandpa died, I really got to know her better, and guys, she did so many Awesome Things as a young woman. I need to ask her about more stuff before her mind starts to go too much. It’s doubly impressive because I’m 95% sure Grandma has some kind of crippling anxiety disorder, at minimum intense social anxiety, and yet she still lived a hell of a life, even after Grandpa (who was totally her rock) was gone. Added bonus of going to Pittsburgh – hanging out with my mom and lil sis.

    But of course, nothing can just be simple and good…I can feel the family drama coming up in the rearview mirror. I’m fairly sure I’ll run into my dad when I go visit Grandma (it’s his mom, after all) and guys, just, ugh. Dealing with my father and his evil wife (She Who Is Not My Mother) is all manner of fucked up and I’ve been doing such a good job of avoiding it for these past few years. I heard from him the other day that one of my dear sweet kitties that I had since middle school finally died (RIP Maxwell Silver Hammer, mommy loves you). I’m glad Dad comforted him in his last moments and buried him next to the cat we had before, Mandy, but it’s his fault I didn’t see my Max and Sandy more the past ten years. Also he continues to do all sorts of fucked up things so…argh. Rage. All the ragefulness and sadness. And guys, I know it’s hard to believe, but Max was The Best Kitty. I can’t even with how he was The Best Kitty. It’s so funny because the cat I have here, now, with me is also The Best Kitty. Someone should really study how it is that everyone’s personal cat can be The Best Kitty all at the same time.

    I’m also super frustrated with my life situation still and with writer’s block. Anyone wanna resuscitate the Writers group here at AS so we can all mope about our writer’s block? Seriously, this post is the most I’ve been able to write in a good week, and for fuck’s sake, I just need to write up a stupid About page for my website!

    At least my inability to write hasn’t carried over to my editing capacity, and my freelance work is about to kick into high gear again. Yaay money! Yaay paying for my masters! One more year! One more year! It’s amazing to be in a program with a clear endpoint that results in graduation after having languished in a seemingly endless PhD program for seven years. Also, more fun stuff: I’m listening to Rammstein right now. My drive up to PA will give me hours upon hours to listen to all this new music I’ve gotten recently. Such hard rock! Very 90s! Wow!

    Keep on truckin’, ‘Straddlers.

    • sending you love and courage for dealing with dad things!! you can do it. and take time alone if you need to! dads are…dads.

      also, yay freelance work! proud of you!!!

  23. Happy Friday!

    I am glad I can sleep in a little this weekend. But I do have finals next week soooooo, I will be mentally exhausted no matter how much sleep I get :/ . Right now I am resisting the urge to trash talk Austin, mostly because I don’t see what the big deal is about the city. I’ve been there and it’s…. ok. The one thing is does have is pretty girls at the UT campus :(

    So….. Next week I am going with the fiancee to get our marriage license. I am kind of nervous because I am making a BIG decision in my life. My fiance feels bad though. We never got any rings or did anything traditional because of finances and I think it is hurting her pride. I never really cared much for all of that though. I am just glad she has been there at the worst of times and will continue to be at my side for the best of times. :)

    In other news, I need to pack since my fiance and I are moving to a townhome. I managed to throw away some stuff and pack some items that I know I don’t need anytime soon. But I am stressed about other stuff that prevents me from packing. Like having to get renters insurance and actually choosing an electric provider and moving my internet services…….. God it feel like this is the year I am adulting exponentially. Now if only my paycheck can experience some exponential growth.

    • So many big changes! I’m so happy for you and so proud of you that you are getting the marriage license <3 The BIGGEST congratulations to both you and the fiancée!!!!!!!

      I hope the stress about all the horrible parts of adulting will fade a bit soon. In my experience all this stuff is like ripping off a bandaid: if you just sit down and do it, it is way less painful. It'll be okay!

      Lots of good luck with moving :)

    • Congratulations and all the best for both of your future!
      Why don’t you diy (if your budget is low) a ring or something for a necklace, and/or do something memorable special – you know that she cares because you write it here, so just bring that to action!

    • yo SO MANY BEAUTIFUL BROWN BABES on UT’s campus! i’m obsessed. don’t know much about the city yet, but tinder has made me a very happy queer

  24. Hey Alaina! Your cheer cheers me up! Happiness: it’s all in the little things, like really sweet FOT posts :)

    I have FINALLY quit my postal worker job (HURRAH) and I’m spending the week at my parents’ place. It’s been simultaneously stressful (because my family is super stressful to be around) and relaxing (because I have the best excuse to not see anybody.)

    I went swimming yesterday for the first time in almost a year and it was wonderful. Went 70 pool lengths, the whole shebang, and it really made me reevaluate my priorities for when I start university in the fall.

    Apart from that I have been working SUPER hard on my lesbian witch webcomic! We have a release date! (22 September!) We have a colourist! (My old friend from art school!) We have a schedule! Things are really coming together, and I feel so proud of all the hard work I’m putting in to make things go smoothly, and I’m so proud of the whole team for the beautiful product we are delivering. :) Just wanted to share that.

    Happy friday, happy weekend, happy next week everyone!

    • woah, you are like my swimming goals! it’s something i really want to try to do more, so go you!!! also–lesbian witch webcomic?! I’m SO EXCITED FOR YOU! make sure to tell us when we can buy it and where!!

      • Thank you!!! Swimming is in my nature, since I was born and raised in the Netherlands, and every time I do it, somehow it works better than therapy on so many levels. Let’s both try to do it more!!!!! :) Also, yes! I will buy a domain name soon and everyone will be able to read it for free, at least until it’s finished! My best friend and I started writing this story almost a full year ago, so I am also SUPER EXCITED to finally see our baby come to life :D It’s already the most rewarding project I’ve ever worked on, and not even the first page is online yet! Can’t wait to share it with you all <3

        • I just wanted to say: I´m so much looking forward to reading your lesbian whitch comic, too! Thats sounds great! Also you made me realise I should really get back to swimming, it relaxes me so much and brightens my mood (I would have to start with little distances of it though). :) Have a nice weekend + week, too!

          • Thank you so much!!! :> I really hope other people will love it as much as we do! You can expect one page a week of beautiful witchy goodness!

            I also started out with very small distances, really taking my time and stuff. Swimming got me through a very hard period in my life, I hope you can also get back into it ^^ Let’s all swim more, woop woop!

          • I´m sure other people will love it too! One page a weed sounds awesome (I´m sure it´s a lot of work combined with studying)

            Yeah, let´s all swimm more! :) I´m going through some big life changes, so something to calm me down and to look forward to is really a good idea! Thank you for the inspiration.

    • Hooray for the comic! Is it going to be serialized online or are you putting the whole thing online in September?

      • It will go up one page a week! Which is a bit slow, but alas. Both me and the colorist will be fulltime students starting September, so we can’t work any faster :D On the release date we will be putting out the cover, the chapter cover and the first page if all goes according to plan!

  25. So apart from my Comment of One Million Links that is in moderation (I hope I wasn’t being inappropriate with adding election stuff to the thread!) – I am really having a great summer.

    Beyoncé gave a concert vaguely near my location two weeks ago, and by a wild coincidence someone gave away a ticket on the day of, and I managed to snag it! The timetable of the day was such that I basically had to arrange my transportation, grab the ticket and pack within an hour in order to get down to the concert in time. And I took the first train home after spending the whole night out after the concert, because there were no hostel beds left… whoops. It was a really unusual thing for me to take a trip like that all on my own on like two hours’ notice, but again: BEYONCÉ. I just had to! And even though I was all alone, and overall I spent almost 10 hours traveling there and back, it was amazing!

    Also, I just found out that I’m going to be able to tend bar and help out at a music festival that two friends of mine are helping to organize, and I’m so excited about that. Fingers crossed for good weather that weekend! :)

    • was the Queen Bey more beautiful in person than you thought??? i feel like i would cry if I saw her in person.

      • I screamed A LOT, there was a lot of screaming and hollering. she and her dancers and her band were an amazing heavenly vision. I still can’t get over having seen her in person, and also seeing specific things in person like the “Freedom” water dance, like how does that even work, how!?!?!?!?

  26. I have been on the road and not posting for a few weeks. Everything is going really well, making some progress with life plans which also involves too many options which is a big improvement on ‘I hate all the options.’ I have a big crush on a friend that’s been brewing for a while and it’s at least partly mutual and she’s definitely not single and I don’t know what to do with all of these feelings, especially since the unrequited-lust feelings are a lot healthier than most of the ones I’ve had in the past months.

    My pet is far away but I Skyped with him today and he is healthy and beautiful! He also doesn’t respond to the sound of my voice on the computer and I am trying not to be sad.

    Also, I went on a Ghostbusters movie date with some queer pals and we got really excited and took photos with cardboard movie cutouts after and I got too excited and hit my nose on a Secret Life of Pets cutout and now I have a big cut across the bottom of my nose. Dear everyone who loves Dr. Jillian Holtzmann for being ridiculous and not giving a fuck: I’ve been ridiculous and not giving a fuck all along! It must be the goggles?

    • skyping with pets is like the greatest thing. my heart is full when i get to see them from afar, even if they totally ignore me. pets man, what can you do.

      • he mostly stayed on camera and he paid attention to my friend at least so I know he hasn’t become a heartless jerk in my absence!

    • I´m a bit late with this, but I just wanted to tell you that I laughed out loud at your last few sentences about your contact with the Secret Life of Pets cutout and your ridiculousness (is that a word)! I always collect cuts etc.(by walking through my appartment, f.e. ;) )And I think you´re right: It´s probably the goggles! :)

  27. I recently found out that my thyroid stopped working. Despite the fact that the exact same thing happened to my mom and sister, I have been in shock, denial, mourning as well as labs, pharmacies and bed for 12+ hours a night.

    But GOOD NEWS! My medicine is starting to work! There’s color in my face. My feet aren’t freezing. I got up and stayed up with my alarm every day this week.

    I’m not quite ready to rejoin the workforce, but I’m thinking about starting a queer pokemon group…that’s *like* a job, right?

  28. Today’s been a bit of a mix.

    The fun stuff has been my fiancee being on vacation- we’ve had a lot of time just to relax and be silly (including numerous Pokemon-related antics). Nothing major, but still really lovely all the same. Also, I received my first set of InvisAlign (they’re basically low-profile braces), which I’m weirdly excited about- after *years* of having horrible looking teeth, I’m finally getting something down about them.

    The bad news has been that I’m broke at the moment. Like, less than $200 in my bank account broke. Fortunately, this is temporary- on Monday I officially started my job as a research assistant at ASU (finally, after four years of grad school, someone’s *paying* me to do science!), and I’ve also picked up a part-time gig tutoring kids online (which I enjoy). But I’m not sure when the paycheck for either of those will arrive, so I’ve been pretty limited in what I can do.

    It’s particularly stressful since 1) my health insurance coverage has been terminated since I couldn’t make my last payment, and while I’ll get coverage from ASU, that doesn’t kick in for another 10 days, so I have to hope I don’t get in an accident or something 2) I was really hoping to be able to take another burlesque class, but now I’m not sure how I’ll be able to afford it 3) transitioning is still *really* expensive, as is wedding planning, and 4) I worry that this proves my mom’s allegations that I’m a spoiled brat who can’t actually support herself in the real world. My fiancee has offered to cover expenses for me if it comes down to it- I did the same for her when she was job hunting right out of school- but I hate feeling like I’m placing a burden on her, especially since she’s got so much student loan debt as it is. Right now I guess I’m just hoping to ride it out until my first paycheck arrives (whenever that is), and hope for the best.

    • You’re gonna make it, Tessa. Don’t be afraid to ask for a little help from your SO. That doesn’t mean you’re not independent or making it on your own. NO ONE succeeds without a little help.

  29. This week I enjoyed…

    a beautiful ocean breeze!

    imagining that in life, this fish may have had a lisp.

    finally breaking down and ordering the custom window sticker depicting my future family. (For the record, I don’t have 8 cats. Yet…)

  30. On my way home from work today, I walked by our neighborhood garden and they were having a produce sale! I got green tomatoes (planning on making fried green tomatoes tomorrow), a cucumber, and some basil. The guy running the garden was saying that the basil goes well in any kind of gin drink so I made a gin and tonic with it and it turned out to be delicious! And beautiful:

    Also, I signed up for A-Camp yesterday! I can’t wait!!!

    I also signed up to take a class at the university where I work (one of the staff benefits is free classes). I’m actually really excited to be a student again! I love the back-to-school time of year.

  31. I’m too tired to post a proper comment, so I’ll just say that I had FRESH nun’s farts (sticky buns – French = pets de soeur) for breakfast this morning. I’m visiting my grandparents in New Brunswick and they’re a Thing at least once every trip.

    (Also, this whole trip has been amazing, tbh. This house is my Happy Place.)

    • um…but what’s in a nun’s fart? does it smell gross but is good? or does it smell good because like nuns are pure? i don’t understand. but are they good???

  32. I have been messing around in my greenhouse, trying to keep my orchids from toasting in the summer Texas heat! Here are a few photos of several different varieties that have bloomed in the last few months. And these are all rated as *easy to grow*. So any of you can grow these too if you are a plant and flower lover, like me.?

  33. Congrats on starting grad school!
    I’m just about to finish high school, only five weeks left before exams :)
    I’ve had a pretty good week, I handed in my last internal assessment yesterday for history.
    Today I’m off to visit the Penguins which should be fun.
    I’m excited though because I’m going out with my pal Rachel next week to a free queer girl party. It’s going to be my night clubbing :) I probably shouldn’t be going as i really have to start ramping up my studying to get ready for exams.
    Next week I have my last band concert and then right after that i’m going to see troye Sivan!
    Also happy girlfriend day to everyone for earlier this week! I don’t have one so I made a collage of me and my fave celebrities:

    (Also I know that my photos embedding skills are sub par so this probably won’t work)

    • Good luck on your final exams! About your night clubbing: That sounds great and I just had to think about a cute scene from the TV series Queer as folk (I don´t know, if you know it?) and looked it up on Youtube, so that you get the exactly right words: ;)

      Justin: I just wanna know if you come to Babylon (a club) with me!
      Brian: (…) No, i got work to do. (…) I thought you were studying for your SATs?
      Justin (looking as serious as possible, trying not to smile): Dancing helps me concentrate. (Doubtfull look from Brian.) Seriously, it releases certain endorphines. So that I can study harder and for longer periods of time.
      Brian: Hmm. So… Babylon (the club) is good for your health?
      Justin: (Nods.)
      Brian: Yeah, thats a new one.

      I found that always funny and kind of true. If you want to study being in a good mood and getting some exercise (=dancing) doesn´t sound like such a bad idea to me… ;) Have fun!

      • Thanks! Haha I haven’t watched it yet but it’s on my Netflix to watch list. I’ll keep this is mind in order to not feel guilty :)

  34. I hear “Ain’t Life Grand?” in Michael Douglas unsettling hegemonic voice circa 1998 in the film A Perfect Murder. That man makes my skin crawl, but some part of me I don’t completely understand loves that movie and feels like that is one of the role he was born for.
    Zero fucks given that it’s a remake of a Hitchcock film (Dial M for Murder) and has GOOP in it.

    Michael Douglas is just so perfectly awful in that film as a Wall Street hedge fund manager who owes his posh lifestyle to his young heiress wife’s fortune. He calls love “some candy ass Hallmark card sentiment”
    According to the rules of spoilers I just googled I can tell you why “ain’t life grand” makes me think of this film. Michael Douglas’s character plans to kill his wife and gaining complete control of her fortune by blackmailing her con-artist lover (played by the future King of Gondor) to do the deed.
    He puts packet of directions in a dead drop, gives a description of the packet bby Viggo that includes a title which is “Ain’t Love Grand?”

    My isn’t grand right now and I’m barely taking care of myself, but at least I ain’t got that level of drama in my life. Awful spouse trying get my con-artist lover to kill me over obscene amounts of personal wealth. I can’t even with oompa loompa gas bag presidential nominee right now.
    Too tired with my health, physical and mental that might have physical cause.
    It’s not sporting to wish a fatal brain aneurysm on another person, but this a nation, not baseball. The big picture, not the diamond.

    I miss playing cabbage ball >_>
    Being an outfielder is so much easier than being an adult.


  35. You know, I’ve been hitting the dating sites with no success.
    So, this week, I was sleeping at work due to terrible trains and lots to do, and as I crawl up to my room, a coworker walks the stairs with me, we’re making small talk, and she drags me along through this tiny town we’re working at.
    So, instead of crashing early and watching a show on the iPad, I went swimming in the spectacularly beautiful lake down the road from my hospital at twilight, we went grocery shopping and then, I find myself at the local bar, which is brimming with life after sunset.
    It’s a beautiful summer evening and the food is nice and it’s open mic night and so, someone is wailing the blues out into the darkness and I find myself thinking, that if this were a date, it would be pretty damn perfect.
    Finally, we head “home” to our respective on-call rooms, and as we walk along the deserted road, she says,”I was in a relationship with a woman, once.”

    • I *love* this story!!

      What an amazingly magical evening.

      Don’t you find something that happens unexpectedly is more likely to create some kind of deep connection/beauty/feeling than something you anticipate?

      Thank you for sharing ~ you always write such interesting comments!

      • Well, thank you!
        Honestly, I think online dating is like smashing two rocks together, hoping to create a spark.
        And all of that while hoping for lightning to strike.
        Maybe, just maybe, that’s not how it works..
        And maybe, hopefully, life is just full of magic and electricity anyway.

  36. Alaina!!! Performance as a Public Practice at UT is the COOLEST EFFING PROGRAM! I actually applied for the PPP program fresh out of undergrad and wasn’t able to get in. I moved to Austin anyway and it’s a pretty cool place to live! I get tired sometimes of all of the trucks bros and omggg it’s hot–okay!! BUT UT is awesome and we have a lot of delicious cheap beer/tacos and joie de vivre :-) I hope I see you around somewhere so I can totes fangirl out on you! Good Luck w UT!!

  37. Wait, what is tax free weekend!? Has this always been a thing?

    I live in a state without sales tax and am not sure if I feel left out or threatened.

  38. Alaina! Good luck with grad school! That’s exciting :D

    As for me…this past week was another hard week at work for the most part. But the friends I do have at work have done little things for me to show they care, which means a lot. And I bought coffee for one of them on Friday and she really appreciated it. My parents, best friend, and girlfriend have helped too. Stupid anxiety.

    Speaking of, I’m with my girlfriend for the weekend and am now waiting for her to get back from work. We’re going to have the talk about me moving in and us closing the distance and we’re both terrified, to say the least. In the best way, if that makes sense. (If anyone has any advice/tips they’re comfortable sharing, please let me know! Thank you in advance!)

    Also I’m wearing a v-neck with a uterus on it and the caption “girl power,” and I think a girl in a car saw that and smiled. Or maybe that’s just me :)

    Have a good week, y’all!

  39. I’m so sad I missed you all. Again! But this time my excuse wasn’t work (boring) but because I was around a campfire with the AS London group. It was fab, even if I am sunburnt and all of the tired.
    I highly recommend attending/organising autostraddle meetups, specifically in a tent in a field. Was awesome.

    • Hey! That sounds like a really awesome time and a very good reason to miss a Friday Open Thread! :) And next Friday probably will be here quicker than we think. :) I wish you a good Start of the Week!

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